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“Eclectic, eccentric, and fun”

Hermitage Museum and Gardens
Ranked #10 of 70 things to do in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Hermitage Museum & Gardens, formerly home to the Sloane family, is an early 20th century Arts-and-Crafts estate located on the shore of the Lafayette River in Norfolk, Virginia. Featuring a nationally recognized art collection spanning 5,000 years, the Hermitage is home to the arts. Contemporary exhibition galleries, a Visual Arts Studio, working artist studios, and 12 acres of gardens and grounds offer art and culture to the community, as envisioned by the Sloanes.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
711 reviews
246 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 267 helpful votes
“Eclectic, eccentric, and fun”
Reviewed September 10, 2012

The Hermitage offers an eclectic array of things to see, including an over-the-top recreation of an English country house (no interior surface goes undecorated); a sometimes random, but always fascinating array of art reflecting Mrs. Sloane's personal tastes and willingness to take advantage of political ups and downs to buy art at fire sale prices; a couple of galleries showing work by contemporary artists; nice gardens with a great river view; and efforts to restore the wetlands along the property's riverfront. All of this is supplemented by the fascinating tale of the Sloane family and its role in local Norfolk history. All in all, a great place to spend a couple of hours.

Visited September 2012
Thank Wanderlust777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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92 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Norfolk, Virginia
Level Contributor
62 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Say yes to the docent tour.”
Reviewed August 29, 2012

Volunteer docents make this museum / mansion even more interesting. The house is filled with some of the finest and most memorable art and architecture from around the world. The original owners, Mr. and Mrs. Sloan, were conscious of the fact that their collections would be seen and appreciated by a large audience after they died.
The grounds are great with spectacular views of the water (though I wish the mostly native plants and trees were labeled). I had the luck to be touring with a master gardener couple, so I enjoyed finding the names of so many species.
But back to the house itself: Mrs. Sloan, a New York City lady, was a perfectionist and a wood carver herself, so the wood appointments in here are exceptional for a house of the Victorian era. I love the paintings throughout, most by a few favorite American artists of hers, masterpieces all, and many icons and medieval wood sculptures. The objets d'art collection is international, including exceptional cabinets from ships and oriental objects. Mrs. Sloan was always adding rooms or physically turning rooms around (literally) to accommodate the couple's collecting fancies. They were conscious throughout the many years they lived here that they were building not just a personal collection in their home but a museum for the future of Norfolk. If I remember correctly, the house wound up with 42 rooms.
The gift shop contains works by local artists. This is absolutely the favorite retreat of local artists. It's one of those places about which tourists will say, "I am so glad I made the time to fit this into my trip." My out-of-town friend had a great morning here, and so did I. Now I understand why my husband, an artist, was so eager for me to come to this fabulous hermitage.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank elizabeth m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples, Italy
Level Contributor
32 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Wonderful little treasure”
Reviewed August 20, 2012

Lots of good things to see and wonderful events to experience. From art, to music to horticulture, Hermitage has it all.

Visited June 2012
Thank thejourneycontinues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franktown, Virginia, USA
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Gardens and Art”
Reviewed July 9, 2012

Beautiful setting on Lafayette River with roses, wetland gardens and great art inside. Art Programs also available.

Thank Fleet D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesapeake, Virginia
Level Contributor
46 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Beautiful house and grounds for free”
Reviewed May 24, 2012

We love the varied gardens and grounds here; they make for a beautiful few hours of walking, photography, and relaxing. And it's free!

Visited November 2011
Thank KerrySK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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